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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 244)

‘Approximately 100 Percent’ of Trump’s Tariffs Were Paid by American Buyers: Report

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Stampede at Suleimani’s Funeral in Iran Kills Dozens

Westlake Legal Group merlin_166780488_b1034249-6050-48cf-9d40-52bd8666a632-facebookJumbo Stampede at Suleimani’s Funeral in Iran Kills Dozens Suleimani, Qassim Stampedes Iran Funerals and Memorials Deaths (Fatalities)

BEIRUT, Lebanon — More than 50 people died in a stampede during the state funeral procession for Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani on Tuesday as his coffin made its way through his hometown in southeastern Iran, the state broadcaster reported.

The head of Iran’s emergency medical services said that 56 people had died and 213 were injured, the broadcaster IRIB reported on its website, as millions of people flooded the streets of Kerman to witness the procession for General Suleimani.

Witnesses said on social media and on the BBC’s Persian service that the street leading to the funeral was too narrow to handle the crowd, and that some side streets had been closed off for security reasons, leaving those who were caught in the crush with no place to escape.

General Suleimani was killed in an American drone strike in Baghdad last week, and his death has magnified tensions between the United States and Iran, fueling fears of a broader conflict as the two sides trade increasingly dire threats.

The overcrowding and the subsequent stampede in Kerman led the authorities to delay General Suleimani’s burial, the state news media reported. It was unclear when he will be buried.

Pictures of the procession showed an elaborately decorated truck bearing General Suleimani’s coffin through streets packed so densely with mourners that, in overhead photographs, the ground was not visible.

Many in the crowd wore black and carried pictures of the dead commander, whose face also looked out from billboards and banners hung from buildings. Others waved red flags that in Shiite Islam have come to symbolize the blood of the sect’s most revered martyr, Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad. (The red flag does not signify a call for revenge, as some news outlets have reported.)

The crowd was far bigger than the city is used to, and with the main streets jammed with people and others closed off, ambulances struggled to reach injured people.

“The route that the government considered for this event was very narrow,” one witness told the BBC’s Persian service, adding that a stampede seemed likely in light of the big crowds that turned out to mourn General Suleimani in Tehran. “Without considering this fact, they picked a narrow and one-way street. Some of the nearby alleys and streets around were closed for some reason and people had no way out.”

Several top-ranking military officials also attended the procession, according to ISNA, a state-run news agency.

“Unfortunately, as a result of a stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” Pirhossein Koulivand, the head of the Iranian emergency medical services, told IRIB. The death toll continued to rise throughout the day.

Mr. Koulivand told the state-run broadcaster Press TV that Iran’s health minister, Saeid Namaki, was in Kerman and was monitoring the emergency response.

Images and videos posted on social media showed the aftermath of the crush, with emergency workers and bystanders trying to resuscitate people lying on the ground. The bodies of other victims, jackets covering their faces, could be seen nearby.

The general’s body had been flown to Kerman after a funeral service on Monday in Tehran, the capital, where there were even bigger crowds. He had requested a burial in his hometown.

Vivian Yee reported from Beirut, Lebanon, and Megan Specia from London. Farnaz Fassihi and Nilo Tabrizy contributed reporting from New York.

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Canadian man claims company fired him for complaining about $6 barbecue sauce holiday gift

Did this guy get canned over sauce?

Hussein Mehaidli, 27, of Toronto, Canada, claims he was fired after complaining about his company’s Christmas gift – a $6 bottle of barbecue sauce – on Twitter.

CHOLULA ASKS FANS TO GET HOT SAUCE-INSPIRED TATTOOS IN EXCHANGE FOR CHANCE AT FREE LIFETIME SUPPLY

Mehaidli, who has worked for construction material wholesaler Fastenal for six years, told CTV News that employees at his company typically receive goodie baskets. “You’d get cookies, M&Ms, beef jerky — a box filled with junk food. We always really appreciated that,” Mehaidli said.

However, this year, the man said he received an inexpensive bottle of BBQ sauce and a wooden barbecue scraper as a present. During winter. In Canada.

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Mehaidli said the small gift felt unfair to him.

“I work really hard. We get pushed really hard to reach our sales goals,” he said. “I felt I gave this company so much and I felt really disrespected when I was given barbecue sauce as a holiday gift.”

So the man took to his anonymous Twitter account and called out the company for their miserly ways.

“What kind of multi billion-dollar company gifts it’s (sic) Canadian employees barbecue sauce as a holiday gift? Yet the USA employees stuff their face with an actual holiday gift box!” Mehaidli wrote in his since-deleted tweet, which also included a photo of the sauce, according to CTV news.

PAPA JOHN’S UNVEILS NEW PIZZA IN TIME FOR FORMER CEO’S CHALLENGE

The day after he wrote the tweet – in which he also tagged his company – Mehaidli said his manager called him in by his “Twitter name” and fired him.

Though his account was anonymous, the company was able to figure out his identity based on another picture he had posted of his work station.

Mehaidli said the official reason behind the termination was a “violation of standards of conduct policy.” But the loss of his job has come at a rough time for Mehaidli, who feels the firing was unjustified.

Westlake Legal Group iStock-484604939 Canadian man claims company fired him for complaining about $6 barbecue sauce holiday gift fox-news/food-drink fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article Alexandra Deabler 46c942b8-2329-5488-afcf-c96279b12621

According to lawyer Richard Johnson who spoke to CTV, the issue of employees getting fired for publically airing grievances against their companies on social media is increasing. (iStock)

“Christmas just came by. There are bills to be paid, my visa bill. Money is an issue,” he said. “I’m a very heavy believer in God and everything happens for a reason, but I believe I was done very, very dirty.”

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According to lawyer Richard Johnson, who spoke to CTV, the issue of employees getting fired for publically airing grievances against their companies on social media is increasing.

“We are running into this issue really frequently. People are taking to social media, talking about having a bad day, something their managers are doing, internal politics at work. And one of the big issues is if the employer is named in the posts and whether it embarrasses them and whether it diminishes them in the public eye,” he said, cautioning employees to be careful with their social media activity.

Mehaidli claims he was not given severance and was only paid for his unused vacation days.

Meanwhile, Get Sauced, the company that produces the BBQ sauce, took to Facebook to defend itself after getting heaps of backlash, with some accusing the sauce brand of being responsible for Mehaidli’s firing.

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“We want to thank everyone for being so passionate about the recent news story including Get Sauced. We just want to let everyone know that we had nothing to do with the firing of the gentleman involved and we wish the best outcome for everyone involved. We just made the delicious BBQ sauce for this great giveaway. Thank you to all of the people who have supported us in our journey as a small Canadian family-run company. We love you all!” the post read.

Westlake Legal Group iStock-484604939 Canadian man claims company fired him for complaining about $6 barbecue sauce holiday gift fox-news/food-drink fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article Alexandra Deabler 46c942b8-2329-5488-afcf-c96279b12621   Westlake Legal Group iStock-484604939 Canadian man claims company fired him for complaining about $6 barbecue sauce holiday gift fox-news/food-drink fox news fnc/food-drink fnc article Alexandra Deabler 46c942b8-2329-5488-afcf-c96279b12621

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‘Approximately 100 Percent’ of Trump’s Tariffs Were Paid by American Buyers: Report

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JFK handwritten speech announcing his run for president set to go up for auction

A host of John F. Kennedy-related memorabilia, including the original speech where he announced his run for president, are slated to go up for auction later this month where they could sell for the staggering sum of $1.5 million.

The historic speech, which was delivered on Jan. 2, 1960, underwent many revisions before Kennedy ultimately delivered the final version, news agency SWNS reports. The hand-written corrections can be seen throughout the speech, the news agency added.

“I am announcing today my candidacy for the Presidency of the United States,” Kennedy said in the speech. “The Presidency is the most powerful office in the World. Through its leadership can come a more vital life for our people. In it are centered the hopes of the globe around us for a freedom and a more secure life.”

Westlake Legal Group jfk-letter-1 JFK handwritten speech announcing his run for president set to go up for auction fox-news/politics fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 13909b27-a81b-5f85-b9b7-2a49bf929a7a

John F. Kennedy hand-written corrections, part of a collection of memorabilia that is expected to fetch a staggering $1.5 million. (Credit: SWNS)

Westlake Legal Group 8102d8af-jfk-letter-2 JFK handwritten speech announcing his run for president set to go up for auction fox-news/politics fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 13909b27-a81b-5f85-b9b7-2a49bf929a7a

The original, annotated speech in which JFK announced his intention to run for the Presidency in 1960 is on offer, alongside a selection of his watercolors, a worn back brace and numerous photographs and letters.(Credit: SWNS)

Westlake Legal Group 4a168238-jfk-letter-3 JFK handwritten speech announcing his run for president set to go up for auction fox-news/politics fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 13909b27-a81b-5f85-b9b7-2a49bf929a7a

In the historic 1960 speech JFK wrote: “I am announcing today my candidacy for the Presidency of the United States. “The Presidency is the most powerful office in the World. Through its leadership can come a more vital life for our people. “In it are centered the hopes of the globe around us for a freedom and a more secure life.” (Credit: SWNS)

150-YEAR-OLD CHRISTMAS LETTER FROM CHARLES DICKENS DISCOVERED

Kennedy mentioned in the speech that he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, as well as spending 14 years as a member of Congress, but noted that he believed he could help reshape America’s image, following World War II and the Korean War.

“I seek the Presidency for in that office in the next decade will be determined whether war or peace is to be our fate, and whether the heritage of freedom so forcefully guarded for us from our earliest beginnings can be spread through a war torn world,” he said, before closing with this famous line: “It is with this image that I begin this campaign.”

Westlake Legal Group 42f0633e-jfk-letter-4 JFK handwritten speech announcing his run for president set to go up for auction fox-news/politics fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 13909b27-a81b-5f85-b9b7-2a49bf929a7a

John F. Kennedy hand-written corrections which are part of a collection of memorabilia. (Credit: SWNS)

The lot, which was collected over the years by private collector Ronnie Paloger, 70, from Marina Del Rey, Calif., also includes a number of JFK’s own watercolor paintings, a back brace he wore and a number of photographs and letters.

Westlake Legal Group jfk-letter-5 JFK handwritten speech announcing his run for president set to go up for auction fox-news/politics fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 13909b27-a81b-5f85-b9b7-2a49bf929a7a

One of John F. Kennedy watercolors. (Credit: SWNS)

“The Paloger JFK Memorabilia + Photograph Collection is the finest, most comprehensive, and historically significant JFK Collection ever assembled by a private collector,” Boston-based RR Auction House, which is handling the sale, wrote in the listing. “The two major components of the collection (memorabilia and photographs including original negatives) individually would stand alone as the finest ever assembled and this combination separates this collection from any other JFK collection in the world today or previously assembled.”

“The enormity and span combined with the high level of significant and unique artifacts in this collection will take your breath away,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction House, in comments obtained by SWNS.

The entire collection will be offered as one lot, with the opening bid set for $1.5 million. The auction will take place on Jan. 23.

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Westlake Legal Group jfk-letter-1 JFK handwritten speech announcing his run for president set to go up for auction fox-news/politics fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 13909b27-a81b-5f85-b9b7-2a49bf929a7a   Westlake Legal Group jfk-letter-1 JFK handwritten speech announcing his run for president set to go up for auction fox-news/politics fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 13909b27-a81b-5f85-b9b7-2a49bf929a7a

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Sonos, Squeezed by the Tech Giants, Sues Google

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — In 2013, Sonos scored a coup when Google agreed to design its music service to work easily with Sonos’s home speakers. For the project, Sonos handed over the effective blueprints to its speakers.

It felt like a harmless move, Sonos executives said. Google was an internet company and didn’t make speakers.

The executives now say they were naïve.

On Tuesday, Sonos sued Google in two federal court systems, seeking financial damages and a ban on the sale of Google’s speakers, smartphones and laptops in the United States. Sonos accused Google of infringing on five of its patents, including technology that lets wireless speakers connect and synchronize with one another.

Sonos’s complaints go beyond patents and Google. Its legal action is the culmination of years of growing dependence on both Google and Amazon, which then used their leverage to squeeze the smaller company, Sonos executives said.

Sonos advertises its speakers on Google and sells them on Amazon. It built their music services and talking virtual assistants directly into its products. Sonos workers correspond via Gmail, and run the business off Amazon’s cloud-computing service.

Then Google and Amazon came out with their own speakers, undercutting Sonos’s prices, and according to Sonos executives, stealing its technology. Google and Amazon each now sell as many speakers in a few months as Sonos sells in one year.

Like many companies under the thumb of Big Tech, Sonos groused privately for years. But over the past several months, Patrick Spence, Sonos’s chief executive, decided he couldn’t take it anymore.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166665591_dd22fbca-3ff6-42bf-967d-d6b03a9c74da-articleLarge Sonos, Squeezed by the Tech Giants, Sues Google Suits and Litigation (Civil) Speakers (Audio) Sonos Inc Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Inventions and Patents Google Inc E-Commerce Computers and the Internet Antitrust Laws and Competition Issues Amazon.com Inc

“We’re left with no choice but to litigate,” said Patrick Spence, the Sonos chief executive.Credit…Adam Amengual for The New York Times

“Google has been blatantly and knowingly copying our patented technology,” Mr. Spence said in a statement. “Despite our repeated and extensive efforts over the last few years, Google has not shown any willingness to work with us on a mutually beneficial solution. We’re left with no choice but to litigate.”

Sonos executives said they decided to sue only Google because they couldn’t risk battling two tech giants in court at once. Yet Mr. Spence and congressional staff members have discussed him soon testifying to the House antitrust subcommittee about his company’s issues with them.

Jose Castaneda, a Google spokesman, said Google and Sonos have discussed both companies’ intellectual property for years, “and we are disappointed that Sonos brought these lawsuits instead of continuing negotiations in good faith. We dispute these claims and will defend them vigorously.”

A spokeswoman for Amazon, Natalie Hereth, said the company did not infringe on Sonos’s technology. “The Echo family of devices and our multi-room music technology were developed independently by Amazon,” she said.

Sonos sued Google in Federal District Court in Los Angeles and in front of the United States International Trade Commission, a quasi-judicial body that decides trade cases and can block the import of goods that violate patents. Sonos sued Google over only five patents, but said it believed Google and Amazon each violated roughly 100. Sonos did not say how much it sought in damages.

The evolving relationship between Sonos and the tech giants reflects an increasingly common complaint in the corporate world: As the biggest tech companies have become essential to reach customers and build businesses, they have exploited that leverage over smaller companies to steal their ideas and their customers.

After mostly keeping those grievances private for years because they feared retaliation, many smaller companies are now speaking out, emboldened in an age of growing scrutiny of America’s largest tech firms.

Several prototype speakers at the Sonos campus.Credit…Adam Amengual for The New York Times A Sonos Move inside a drop test machine.Credit…Adam Amengual for The New York Times

Mr. Spence and other Sonos executives said they agonized over the decision to sue Google, largely because Google still underpins their business. Sonos executives suspect that their pressure on the patent issue has complicated other areas of the relationship, though they can’t say for sure.

After Sonos intensified its demands that Google license its technology, Google pushed Sonos to comply with stricter rules for using Google’s virtual assistant. Those proposed rules included a mandate to turn over the planned name, design and targeted start date of its future products — which Google would compete directly against — six months in advance, up from 45 days in the current deal, Sonos executives said.

“The fear of retaliation is a real fear. Any of these companies could bury them tomorrow. Google could bury them in their search results. Amazon can bury them in their search results,” said Sally Hubbard, a former assistant attorney general in New York’s antitrust bureau who now works at Open Markets Institute, a think tank. “It’s really hard to find any industry where corporations are not dependent on one of the big tech giants.”

Fifteen years ago, home sound systems typically meant a tangled network of wires and speakers and complicated instructions on how to make it all work. Then Sonos came along in 2005, promising wireless sound throughout a house, seamlessly controlled from a hand-held device. Its early ads boasted: “Any song. Any room.

Sonos quickly began patenting its innovations, a stockpile of intellectual property it now proudly displays on its website.

Its devices made life a bit more comfortable for consumers who could afford them, and they made for a nice little business for Sonos, which is based a few miles from the Southern California coast in Santa Barbara. Sales of its devices took off after the advent of the smartphone and music streaming. Sonos now employs about 1,500 people and sells more than $1 billion in speakers a year.

When Sonos teamed up with Google in 2013, it gave Google engineers detailed diagrams on how its speakers interacted wirelessly with one another. At the time, Google was not a competitor.

Two years later, Google released a small device that could turn an old speaker into a wireless one, much like Sonos’s original product. A year after that, Google released its own wireless speaker, the Google Home. The device, marketed around Google’s talking virtual assistant, quickly began outselling Sonos’s offerings.

Sonos bought the Google devices and used a technique called packet sniffing that monitored how the speakers were communicating. They discovered that Google’s devices used Sonos’s approach for solving a variety of technological challenges. Sonos executives said they found Amazon’s Echo speakers had also copied Sonos technology.

In August 2016, Sonos told Google it was infringing. Google had little response. As Google released more products, it violated more patents, Sonos executives said. Over the next three years, Sonos told Google four more times, eventually handing over a list of 100 patents it believed Google had violated. Google responded that Sonos was also infringing on its patents, Sonos executives said, though it never provided much detail.

When Sonos delivered a proposed model for Google to pay licensing fees, Google returned its own model that resulted in its paying almost nothing, Sonos executives said.

Sonos executives said their complaints were hardly just about patents, however. They are concerned that Google and Amazon are flooding the market with cheap speakers that they subsidize because they are not merely conduits for music, like Sonos’s devices, but rather another way to sell goods, show ads and collect data.

Sonos’s entry-level speaker is about $200. Amazon and Google’s cheapest speakers are $50, and they often offer them at much steeper discounts.

In the third quarter of 2019, Amazon shipped 10.5 million speakers, and Google six million, according to Strategy Analytics. For the 12 months ending in September, Sonos said it had sold 6.1 million speakers.

“Amazon and Google are making it a mass-market product at a price point that Sonos can’t match,” said Jack Narcotta, a Strategy Analytics analyst.

Amazon said it was focused on creating the best experience for customers and that its virtual assistant had generated “billions of dollars” for developers and device makers.

To compete, Sonos has had to yield even more power to the companies. When consumers became hooked on Google and Amazon’s virtual assistants, Sonos also built them into its speakers.

But Sonos had a strategy to still stand out on store shelves. Instead of locking consumers into using just one of the assistants, Sonos customers could use both simultaneously. Sonos engineers patented the technology to enable the assistants to work side by side, and executives lobbied Amazon and Google to let it happen.

At first, the companies hated the idea. Hours before a New York news conference in October 2017, Sonos was preparing to unveil its first speaker with virtual assistants when the Amazon product chief Dave Limp called Mr. Spence. Mr. Limp had just found out Google would also be onstage and he said Amazon was now pulling out of the event as a result, according to two people familiar with the conversation. After negotiations, Amazon relented.

Sonos executives said Google and Amazon ultimately forced them to make users select one assistant when setting up their speaker.

Amazon later changed its position and joined an alliance with Sonos and other companies to make virtual assistants like Alexa function together. Google is the only major company that refused to join the alliance.

Google has maintained, Sonos executives said, that it will pull its assistant from Sonos’s speakers if it worked alongside any assistant from Amazon, Apple, Microsoft or Baidu, the Chinese internet company. Sonos has followed Google’s orders.

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Mississippi inmate who escaped troubled prison is captured in Tennessee

The second of two inmates who escaped a troubled Mississippi prison where three others were killed last week has been taken into custody in Tennessee.

Dillion Williams, who vanished from the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman early Saturday, was arrested Monday in a wooded area near Rossville, about 100 miles away and just across the state’s northern border.

“Teamwork at its finest!” the Tennessee Department of Correction posted on Twitter alongside an image of the 27-year-old being detained by an officer.

Westlake Legal Group dillion-williams Mississippi inmate who escaped troubled prison is captured in Tennessee Greg Norman fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/tennessee fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/mississippi fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc article 945c0991-fb6a-5d6d-84c7-4b79848a0cdd

Dillion Williams, who escaped from the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman early Saturday, was arrested Monday in Tennessee. (Tennessee Department of Correction)

Williams had been serving a 40-year sentence for residential burglary and aggravated assault.

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The other inmate who busted out of the prison with Williams, David May, was arrested early Sunday after police found the pickup truck they are alleged to have used in their escape.

Two inmates were stabbed to death at Parchman last week and another was found dead in his jail cell in a series of killings that Mississippi’s outgoing prisons chief says is linked to gang disputes.

Westlake Legal Group dillion-williams Mississippi inmate who escaped troubled prison is captured in Tennessee Greg Norman fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/tennessee fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/mississippi fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc article 945c0991-fb6a-5d6d-84c7-4b79848a0cdd   Westlake Legal Group dillion-williams Mississippi inmate who escaped troubled prison is captured in Tennessee Greg Norman fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/tennessee fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/mississippi fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc article 945c0991-fb6a-5d6d-84c7-4b79848a0cdd

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Sonos, Squeezed by the Tech Giants, Sues Google

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — In 2013, Sonos scored a coup when Google agreed to design its music service to work easily with Sonos’s home speakers. For the project, Sonos handed over the effective blueprints to its speakers.

It felt like a harmless move, Sonos executives said. Google was an internet company and didn’t make speakers.

The executives now say they were naïve.

On Tuesday, Sonos sued Google in two federal court systems, seeking financial damages and a ban on the sale of Google’s speakers, smartphones and laptops in the United States. Sonos accused Google of infringing on five of its patents, including technology that lets wireless speakers connect and synchronize with one another.

Sonos’s complaints go beyond patents and Google. Its legal action is the culmination of years of growing dependence on both Google and Amazon, which then used their leverage to squeeze the smaller company, Sonos executives said.

Sonos advertises its speakers on Google and sells them on Amazon. It built their music services and talking virtual assistants directly into its products. Sonos workers correspond via Gmail, and run the business off Amazon’s cloud-computing service.

Then Google and Amazon came out with their own speakers, undercutting Sonos’s prices, and according to Sonos executives, stealing its technology. Google and Amazon each now sell as many speakers in a few months as Sonos sells in one year.

Like many companies under the thumb of Big Tech, Sonos groused privately for years. But over the past several months, Patrick Spence, Sonos’s chief executive, decided he couldn’t take it anymore.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166665591_dd22fbca-3ff6-42bf-967d-d6b03a9c74da-articleLarge Sonos, Squeezed by the Tech Giants, Sues Google Suits and Litigation (Civil) Speakers (Audio) Sonos Inc Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Inventions and Patents Google Inc E-Commerce Computers and the Internet Antitrust Laws and Competition Issues Amazon.com Inc

“We’re left with no choice but to litigate,” said Patrick Spence, the Sonos chief executive.Credit…Adam Amengual for The New York Times

“Google has been blatantly and knowingly copying our patented technology,” Mr. Spence said in a statement. “Despite our repeated and extensive efforts over the last few years, Google has not shown any willingness to work with us on a mutually beneficial solution. We’re left with no choice but to litigate.”

Sonos executives said they decided to sue only Google because they couldn’t risk battling two tech giants in court at once. Yet Mr. Spence and congressional staff members have discussed him soon testifying to the House antitrust subcommittee about his company’s issues with them.

Jose Castaneda, a Google spokesman, said Google and Sonos have discussed both companies’ intellectual property for years, “and we are disappointed that Sonos brought these lawsuits instead of continuing negotiations in good faith. We dispute these claims and will defend them vigorously.”

A spokeswoman for Amazon, Natalie Hereth, said the company did not infringe on Sonos’s technology. “The Echo family of devices and our multi-room music technology were developed independently by Amazon,” she said.

Sonos sued Google in Federal District Court in Los Angeles and in front of the United States International Trade Commission, a quasi-judicial body that decides trade cases and can block the import of goods that violate patents. Sonos sued Google over only five patents, but said it believed Google and Amazon each violated roughly 100. Sonos did not say how much it sought in damages.

The evolving relationship between Sonos and the tech giants reflects an increasingly common complaint in the corporate world: As the biggest tech companies have become essential to reach customers and build businesses, they have exploited that leverage over smaller companies to steal their ideas and their customers.

After mostly keeping those grievances private for years because they feared retaliation, many smaller companies are now speaking out, emboldened in an age of growing scrutiny of America’s largest tech firms.

Several prototype speakers at the Sonos campus.Credit…Adam Amengual for The New York Times A Sonos Move inside a drop test machine.Credit…Adam Amengual for The New York Times

Mr. Spence and other Sonos executives said they agonized over the decision to sue Google, largely because Google still underpins their business. Sonos executives suspect that their pressure on the patent issue has complicated other areas of the relationship, though they can’t say for sure.

After Sonos intensified its demands that Google license its technology, Google pushed Sonos to comply with stricter rules for using Google’s virtual assistant. Those proposed rules included a mandate to turn over the planned name, design and targeted start date of its future products — which Google would compete directly against — six months in advance, up from 45 days in the current deal, Sonos executives said.

“The fear of retaliation is a real fear. Any of these companies could bury them tomorrow. Google could bury them in their search results. Amazon can bury them in their search results,” said Sally Hubbard, a former assistant attorney general in New York’s antitrust bureau who now works at Open Markets Institute, a think tank. “It’s really hard to find any industry where corporations are not dependent on one of the big tech giants.”

Fifteen years ago, home sound systems typically meant a tangled network of wires and speakers and complicated instructions on how to make it all work. Then Sonos came along in 2005, promising wireless sound throughout a house, seamlessly controlled from a hand-held device. Its early ads boasted: “Any song. Any room.

Sonos quickly began patenting its innovations, a stockpile of intellectual property it now proudly displays on its website.

Its devices made life a bit more comfortable for consumers who could afford them, and they made for a nice little business for Sonos, which is based a few miles from the Southern California coast in Santa Barbara. Sales of its devices took off after the advent of the smartphone and music streaming. Sonos now employs about 1,500 people and sells more than $1 billion in speakers a year.

When Sonos teamed up with Google in 2013, it gave Google engineers detailed diagrams on how its speakers interacted wirelessly with one another. At the time, Google was not a competitor.

Two years later, Google released a small device that could turn an old speaker into a wireless one, much like Sonos’s original product. A year after that, Google released its own wireless speaker, the Google Home. The device, marketed around Google’s talking virtual assistant, quickly began outselling Sonos’s offerings.

Sonos bought the Google devices and used a technique called packet sniffing that monitored how the speakers were communicating. They discovered that Google’s devices used Sonos’s approach for solving a variety of technological challenges. Sonos executives said they found Amazon’s Echo speakers had also copied Sonos technology.

In August 2016, Sonos told Google it was infringing. Google had little response. As Google released more products, it violated more patents, Sonos executives said. Over the next three years, Sonos told Google four more times, eventually handing over a list of 100 patents it believed Google had violated. Google responded that Sonos was also infringing on its patents, Sonos executives said, though it never provided much detail.

When Sonos delivered a proposed model for Google to pay licensing fees, Google returned its own model that resulted in its paying almost nothing, Sonos executives said.

Sonos executives said their complaints were hardly just about patents, however. They are concerned that Google and Amazon are flooding the market with cheap speakers that they subsidize because they are not merely conduits for music, like Sonos’s devices, but rather another way to sell goods, show ads and collect data.

Sonos’s entry-level speaker is about $200. Amazon and Google’s cheapest speakers are $50, and they often offer them at much steeper discounts.

In the third quarter of 2019, Amazon shipped 10.5 million speakers, and Google six million, according to Strategy Analytics. For the 12 months ending in September, Sonos said it had sold 6.1 million speakers.

“Amazon and Google are making it a mass-market product at a price point that Sonos can’t match,” said Jack Narcotta, a Strategy Analytics analyst.

Amazon said it was focused on creating the best experience for customers and that its virtual assistant had generated “billions of dollars” for developers and device makers.

To compete, Sonos has had to yield even more power to the companies. When consumers became hooked on Google and Amazon’s virtual assistants, Sonos also built them into its speakers.

But Sonos had a strategy to still stand out on store shelves. Instead of locking consumers into using just one of the assistants, Sonos customers could use both simultaneously. Sonos engineers patented the technology to enable the assistants to work side by side, and executives lobbied Amazon and Google to let it happen.

At first, the companies hated the idea. Hours before a New York news conference in October 2017, Sonos was preparing to unveil its first speaker with virtual assistants when the Amazon product chief Dave Limp called Mr. Spence. Mr. Limp had just found out Google would also be onstage and he said Amazon was now pulling out of the event as a result, according to two people familiar with the conversation. After negotiations, Amazon relented.

Sonos executives said Google and Amazon ultimately forced them to make users select one assistant when setting up their speaker.

Amazon later changed its position and joined an alliance with Sonos and other companies to make virtual assistants like Alexa function together. Google is the only major company that refused to join the alliance.

Google has maintained, Sonos executives said, that it will pull its assistant from Sonos’s speakers if it worked alongside any assistant from Amazon, Apple, Microsoft or Baidu, the Chinese internet company. Sonos has followed Google’s orders.

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Estranged husband of missing Connecticut mom arrested, charged with murder

Westlake Legal Group og-fox-news Estranged husband of missing Connecticut mom arrested, charged with murder fox news fnc/us fnc Barnini Chakraborty article 7f092ffc-c55e-52eb-83a3-30c8596ae362

Fotis Dulos, the estranged husband of a Connecticut mother of five who went missing in May after dropping her children off at school, has been arrested and charged with murder, his attorney Norm Pattis said Tuesday.

Two others have also been arrested and charged in connection to Jennifer Dulos’ death, one with murder and the other conspiracy to commit murder, Pattis said.

He did not give their names.

Pattis said Dulos will likely be in court this afternoon.

During a morning press conference Pattis said he does not believe the state has enough evidence to convict his client and that he would “be surprised if the state can win it.”

Dulos – along with his girlfriend Michelle Traconis – were charged earlier with evidence tampering and related offenses in Jennifer Dulos’ disappearance.

This is a developing story.

Westlake Legal Group jennifer-dulos Estranged husband of missing Connecticut mom arrested, charged with murder fox news fnc/us fnc Barnini Chakraborty article 7f092ffc-c55e-52eb-83a3-30c8596ae362   Westlake Legal Group jennifer-dulos Estranged husband of missing Connecticut mom arrested, charged with murder fox news fnc/us fnc Barnini Chakraborty article 7f092ffc-c55e-52eb-83a3-30c8596ae362

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Venezuela’s Guaido forces his way into congress amid standoff

Opposition leader Juan Guaidó and opposition lawmakers pushed their way into Venezuela’s legislative building Tuesday following a standoff with security forces as the nation’s political divide deepens.

The man recognized by the U.S. and over 50 other nations as Venezuela’s rightful president made his way toward his seat in the National Assembly and led lawmakers in boisterously singing the country’s anthem.

Shortly thereafter, electricity in the building went out, but lawmakers continued in the dimly lit assembly, shouting into microphones that did not work to declare Guaidó the legitimate president of the congress.

Westlake Legal Group AP20007537432926 Venezuela's Guaido forces his way into congress amid standoff fox-news/topic/venezuelan-political-crisis fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 955a8a84-0164-5e5d-af5d-ef9ef2050e77

Opposition leader Juan Guaido argues for National Guards to let him and all opposition lawmakers into the National Assembly, saying he will not enter unless all of them are allowed entry, outside the legislature in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

VENEZUELA’S GUAIDÓ BLOCKED FROM CONGRESSIONAL SESSION AS RIVALS DECLARE SUBSTITUTE LEADER

“This is a show of what can happen when we are united,” Guaidó yelled.

Venezuela’s opposition is facing its biggest test yet after government-backed lawmakers announced they were taking control of what Guaidó supporters have described as the nation’s last democratic institution.

Westlake Legal Group AP20007449698826 Venezuela's Guaido forces his way into congress amid standoff fox-news/topic/venezuelan-political-crisis fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 955a8a84-0164-5e5d-af5d-ef9ef2050e77

Opposition leader Juan Guaido arrives at the political headquarters of “Democratic Action” before going to the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

Guaidó has served as president of the National Assembly for the last year and used it as his platform to gain international recognition. He was expected to be re-elected as the legislature’s leader Sunday but was blocked along with several other lawmakers from entering congress.

Former opposition ally Luis Parra declared himself the National Assembly’s leader, claiming to have won the votes of 81 lawmakers.

Westlake Legal Group AP20007589789685 Venezuela's Guaido forces his way into congress amid standoff fox-news/topic/venezuelan-political-crisis fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 955a8a84-0164-5e5d-af5d-ef9ef2050e77

With the power out, opposition leader Juan Guaido, right, is sworn-in as the president of the National Assembly by lawmaker Juan Pablo Guanipa in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrea Hernandez Briceño)

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The opposition refutes that tally and says 100 lawmakers, a majority, voted for Guaidó in a legislative session held later at a Venezuelan newspaper.

Westlake Legal Group AP20007537432926 Venezuela's Guaido forces his way into congress amid standoff fox-news/topic/venezuelan-political-crisis fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 955a8a84-0164-5e5d-af5d-ef9ef2050e77   Westlake Legal Group AP20007537432926 Venezuela's Guaido forces his way into congress amid standoff fox-news/topic/venezuelan-political-crisis fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 955a8a84-0164-5e5d-af5d-ef9ef2050e77

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